To become a better translator, you shall be adept in recognizing and summarizing the characteristics of each project. Each project has its own glossary, special notes/requirements (checklist), and style guide.
Glossary is developed to ensure the consistency in translation output and create a better reader experience. Glossary can be developed before and after the first-batch translation, including without limited to brand names and corporate slogans, technical terminology, UI menus and buttons, Do-not-translate items, etc. If there is any following file(s) to translate, keeping the glossary updated is crucial. As we all know, there is unavoidably additional time and efforts for the task of creating and maintaining a glossary. The additional time and efforts often make a glossary seem like obstacle rather than a valuable tool. But properly maintaining a glossary will greatly save you time and reduce the chances of mistakes in your translation in a long run. So no matter how much efforts you put in it is worthy.
When creating and maintaining a glossary, the feedback from the client must be included into your glossary. The comments (translations) from the client are the finalized version and you can freely adopt them in your following translation tasks. So never miss to incorporate the client’s suggested translation into your glossary.
Special notes/requirements include the project-specific cautions that you shall bear them in mind during translating, including the client’s instructions on formatting, reference materials, translation length, etc. Such requirements will be given by the PM in advance. As a translator, you shall carefully read them before starting translation. If there is any doubt about the client’s requirements, you shall check with the PM. Just like the glossary, maintaining the client’s instructions updated is also very important and allows you to meet the updated requirements of the client and prevent customer compliant.
Style guide is general guideline of the project, including the requirements on terminology, grammatical, stylistics, linguistics, punctuation, etc. To create a valuable style guide, you shall summarize the characteristics of the project in an all-round way, so it may requires much more time and efforts than creating a glossary. Anyway, it is worthy, especially for large projects.
In a word, if you are active in summarizing and writing down the specific attentions about a project, you can more easily deliver up-to-standard quality translation for the clients. Don’t wait. Just do it now.